1. What are aerosols?
What's in an aerosol? P.1 of 13 
Aerosol sprays
An aerosol is any fine spray that hangs in the air. However, when we talk about consumer ‘aerosols’, we mean a product in a pressurised container.
Aerosol cans
Aerosol can cutaway
Picture 1.1 An aerosol can.
Let's have a look inside an aerosol can. This is what it contains.

1. The product. This is a solution or suspension of the substance that we want to spray.

2. The propellant. It is the propellant that pushes the product out. Often, it acts as the solvent.

3. The actuator. When you press down on the actuator, it opens ...

4. ... the valve and allows the product to be pushed out.

5. The dip tube. The dip tube goes down to the bottom of the can to make sure it is always dipped in the product and that you can always get all of the product out.


The propellant makes a pressure inside the can. This pushes the product out when you press on the actuator. Some propellants also help to give the spray a texture or break it up into small droplets. This is because the propellant turns into a gas as it leaves the nozzle.

  • In the case of a foam, the gas produced at the nozzle forms bubbles within the product to make it frothy.
  • In the case of a body spray, the evaporating propellant helps to break the product up into tiny droplets.
Aerosol cans are under pressure. Never puncture a real can or try to look inside
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Question 1
Look at the paragraph below. There are some words missing. In each case, choose the best word from the drop down list. Then click on the 'Show answers' button to see how well you did.
The  pushes the out of an aerosol can. The stops the liquid escaping until you press the when the product flows up through the .

Summary                                           Close
  • an aerosol is a fine spray suspended in the air
  • the spray is forced out of a can by the propellant
  • the propellant also gives the spray its texture